Strongest Branches

Dark. A bit of violence in here.

This is Froot's fault, so everyone's clear. It's her belated birthday gift, which she was so patient in waiting for. She asked for Prax/Ka, and I wrote what came to me. It's tinged it with a hint of J/'ll see what I mean.

Strongest Branches


The strongest branches are those that…


“Ah!” The sharp cry escapes me.  Shames me.


 “It’s your fault!” he rails.


“Yes, Inspector.” I tuck my head back down before he can strike.


Shut up!” he snarls, cruel leather strips crashing down against my bright red skin in earnest.


Restrained, there is little I can do to avoid the blows and I did forget.  I nod tersely, bite my own lip to prevent another cry of weakness escaping. Say nothing. I’m not supposed to speak. He wants to envision, to whatever degree possible, that it’s her he’s punishing. He speaks to me, but it is her he whips. It’s her spirit that he crushes, her victory he avenges.


Though he strives so hard to conceal that truth.


“You should have seen that those telepaths were gone!” he rages on, gaining momentum, not losing it. “You should have seen it!”


Again, I nod, already on fire as steady blows rain mercilessly down. Biting into me.


“I would have had her, you incompetent oaf!” he roars, incensed too mild a word to describe his condition.


I’m secretly praising the old gods that he does not have her.


I saved him. And her.


I saved us all.


“I would have had everything!” His heavy hand shoves at the back of my head, forcing it down to rough grating, my forehead cracking into unforgiving metal, pain searing through my skull. “Do you have any idea the plans I had for that one?” he grits dangerously. Nowhere near satisfied with the flesh he’s already taken out of my patched hide.


I frantically shake my head against the harsh grating: a lie of gesture. I did know. I knew, and in the beginning, I anticipated it as much as he.


“She would be in your place right now, you know. It would be her ass burning, not yours,” he hisses.


I flinch, and not from the pain of another viciously skilled blow so much as the notion he espouses. The blows resume, punishing, cruel.


I do know. In the beginning, I would have enjoyed the diversion she offered both of us. He does like to share occasionally. His skill with breaking beautiful things. It’s inspiring.


At first, I agreed with him. She would have been so exquisite an object to witness him dominate…


By the end, I’d have cut her throat myself to keep him from taking her. I hated her.


I saved him. And her.


I saved us all.


“It’s. Your. Fault!” he rages, the inferno across my burning back increasing to near-unbearable agony until I openly weep from pain.


Yes. It is, though he has no way of knowing this. And it is his fault, as well. She blinded him to her true nature.


To his.


She would have destroyed him. She would have destroyed us all.


I see her face in my mind’s eye, streaks of white-hot flaring through her image with every crisscrossed crack of leather burning into me.


How I grew to detest her, to despise her blue-eyed stare.


The strongest branches are those that break within the storm. For all her projected strength, her unique defiance, he would have broken her with his cruelty.


But not before she broke him.


The blows increase in ferocity. The fire heats, spreads, sharpens. The slashes of leather against too-abused flesh become concerning. Alarming.




The flogger he uses does not rupture the skin. It’s made not to. He does not like his toys to break too early. Yet I fear he may find a way to defy the laws of the instrument’s physics in his current frenzy.  


He’s gone off the rails. This may be the time he kills me. Primal fear should grip my heart through the pain. But the familiar weight of his heavy gloved hand bears down on the back of my head. My bare ass half welcomes the murderous, torturing sear of his never-tiring flogger. Craves his loving attention.


The next blow is deep, clenches my teeth. One cracks under the strain of compounding pressure. The next comes too soon, too sharp, too deep, too much


“Inspector!” I cry out desperately, at my limit.


“I would have her!” It’s a near sob on his part this time, punctuated by another blow. But he stills. Mercifully.


Silence falls. Stretches. Grows.


The flogger hits the floor.


I release a shuddering, sobbing breath. I will not die this day.


“Damn you!” he curses a whisper, this time.


I almost wish I would die when I hear the cracking of his voice. He speaks to more than one person. Through my own weak subsiding sobs, I still into his sudden silence. His lack of motion. Only my too-tensed muscles tremble involuntarily in their harsh bindings. Otherwise, I’m motionless.


He drops his head to the back of my sweaty red shoulder, his slick hair nestling at my ear for one sweet second. His beloved lips, so cruel, so harsh with their praise and insult alike, brush my jaw.


“I’m sorry, Inspector,” I sob, remorseful to my core.


I did not mean to break him too. Only to save him. To save us all.


He stiffens. So do I as I brace for the onslaught of his renewed wrath. Silently praying for it. For a sign that he isn’t shorn too deeply by her loss.


“Shut up,” he snarls contemptuously: his old, usual snarl. Full of disgust for both of us.


I understand. I have contempt for myself, too.


He wants to imagine that I’m her. It’s literal fire when his weight withdraws, despite cool air less punishing on reddened, raw skin. I wait. Wondering. Barely daring to breathe.


Will he hate me now? Will he not be able to bear…?


I hear the rustling of clothing. My heart soars, free as the telepaths that never should have lived this day as I feel his lateral weight pushing my body forward, his hips settling behind mine.


He will do now what we both so desperately need him to do. What we will both hate him for doing. I’m restrained. Helpless. Unable to stop him from doing it.


I would not stop him even I weren’t bound. We both know it.


He wants to imagine that I’m her. And I will let him. Yet the guilt I carry makes me undeserving. So unworthy.


I broke protocol. If I told him, unburdened my soul, he would kill me. And spit on my lifeless body when he was done.


He would be right to do it.


I may have seen that shuttle leave the gaharay ship. It’s possible that I did nothing to stop it; I may have kept quiet, betrayed him. This may actually be my fault.


I have broken protocol.


I saved him. And her.


I saved us all.


There is no one to save me from myself as his beloved hands curl ribbons of ownership around my bare hips. I fissure from inside, renting open, and I know ecstasy unbridled through the pain of wanting him.


Of needing him.


The strongest branches are those that break within the storm.


I am not one of those branches.


I am already broken.